Archive for October, 2010

The Disappearance of Alice Creed is well acted (Eddie Marsan is always good) but mostly trashy. The first 5 minutes are pretty good as the two ex-cons turn a run-down flat into a sound-proofed prison but thereafter the film is essentially just 2 big and not entirely surprising plot twists and a few smaller ones and then it’s over.

Back To The Future is, as everyone knows by now, awesome. If you don’t think so then you need to get some awesome lessons. Watching it remastered and on the big screen at Clevedon’s historic Curzon cinema was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Having seen BTTF many, many times, it was more the comfort of familiarity than the thrill of the new but therein lies a deeper love!

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Today is Blog Action Day highlighting the issue of water. I don’t want to bang on about this and make you feel bad so I’ll keep it brief.

I take my taps and my toilet for granted but for many there is a daily choice to go thirsty (which isn’t an option you can keep taking for long) or to walk miles to get water from a source that may make you sick or even kill you. Until earlier this year, I had no idea how big an issue water and sanitation is. These are the two statistics that sold me on trying to do something about it…

884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water – roughly one in eight of the world’s population.

2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to a clean and safe toilet – almost 40% of the world’s population.

This week, Britain’s chief scientist John Beddington said that water shortages will be the world’s most pressing problem in the next decade. It is the world’s poorest who will suffer the most.

If you want to do something, my suggestion would be to give some money to WaterAid or you could twin your toilet with one in Burundi.

A final fact – for every dollar spent on sanitation at least 9 dollars are saved in health, education and economic development. That’s efficient giving!

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News team interview eccentric American lady about an attempted robbery at a petrol station = quite funny…

Take video, mix it about a bit and apply some autotune = pretty awesome…

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Cookie

I’ve tried quite a few cookie recipes over the years. This is my favourite at the moment for ease, speed and simplicity of ingredients and produces cookies that are crunchy-chewy round the edges but soft and fluffy in the middle.

Makes 12 generously sized cookies (maybe more if you add chocolate chunks etc)…

Set the oven to 190°C

In a small-ish bowl:
Mix 175g plain flour, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl:
Cream 125g sugar with 90g caster sugar and 90g light brown sugar
Add 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and a large egg and mix until fairly smooth
Combine in the flour mixture from the small bowl a third at a time

Lay a piece of baking paper on a rectangular baking sheet or tray (I use my grill pan).

Put 6 balls of the dough (about half the mixture in total) on the tray in a 3 by 2 arrangement. No need to flatten down as it’ll melt down in the oven.

Put in the oven for 9-11 minutes. Take out when just going brown around the edges at which point they should still pretty squidgy in the middle.

Slide paper off the tray, add another piece of baking paper and then repeat with the other half of the mixture.

P.S. If you’re really fancy, you might have two baking trays and be able to bake all 12 cookies at once but this is how I do it. It’s handy to do it in two batches if you have a habit of forgetting about your baking as you only burn half the batch!

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Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky is the story of three men’s journey into “The Zone”, a restricted area where some supernatural event in the past has created The Room into which those who enter receive their deepest desires. That’s the set-up; the resulting film is a 3 hour long exploration of the state of mind of these three men – both what has brought them to a place of searching for The Room and how they might prepare themselves to enter it. The film is slow moving and though there’s some impressive imagery and cinematography, it seems more just a background to the dialogue, which is where the real meat is. It’s more poetry than narrative, hinting and pointing at ideas and concepts and then giving you a few minutes of quiet images to contemplate and respond.

I Love You Phillip Morris is the mostly true story of a con-man who leaves behind a conventional “American dream” lifestyle with a wife and child to come out and move to LA. When his schemes inevitably see him wind up in prison he falls in love with a fellow inmate and his focus shifts to getting them both out of prison through various scams and escape attempts. Supposedly a comedy but it seems that comedy is supposed to be derived entirely from Jim Carrey acting camp. It’s actually ends up being quite a sad story of a confused guy desperately trying to make the life he wants but through methods that end up just being destructive. Like Catch Me If You Can but less fun.

Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard) – the complete opposite of Stalker but a better than average action film with some of the charm of the previous Die Hards carried over into this incarnation. Certainly a better quadrequel than the awful Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (yep, I’m still annoyed about it!).

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